A federal judge ruled Friday that Minnesota’s Congressional elections for the 2nd district could continue in September despite the death of a third candidate.
The decision is a victory for newly minted Democratic MP Angie Craig, who filed a federal complaint on Sept. 28 to ensure the elections continue after Secretary of State Steve Simon announced they would be postponed until February.
According to state law, an election must be postponed if a candidate from a major party dies 79 days before November 3rd.
“Given the overwhelming importance of being able to vote in the November general election and uninterrupted representation in the United States Congress for voters in Minnesota Second Congressional District, there is public interest in supporting plaintiffs̵
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The ruling notes that Craig’s argument that federal law takes precedence over state law was likely to be successful and that if delayed, Craig’s campaign would have to hold campaign resources through February. Wright added that a delay would leave voters unrepresented for more than a month.
The verdict ordered Simon not to tell voters that the congressional elections in the 2nd district would be delayed.
“Voters should continue to vote this race on their ballots, and according to the district court decision, those votes will be counted,” Simon wrote in a statement Friday.
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Craig competes against Republican Tyler Kristner, a Marine Corps veteran who raised more than $ 1 million by July and topped Craig’s fundraiser in the second quarter. Kristner spoke out in favor of the late election, saying he would appeal Wright’s decision “to ensure that every Minnesotan has the opportunity to vote for the candidate of their choice”.
“As recently as this week, the United States Supreme Court and various appeals courts ruled that state laws could not be overturned on the eve of the election. Because of this precedent, my campaign will challenge today’s decision in the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals,” he wrote in a Friday tweet.
His lawyers filed a motion Friday to prevent Wright’s order from being enforced while he is appealing. She said her order would “certainly disenfranchise thousands of voters” who believed there would be no congressional election on November 3rd.
Adam Weeks, 37, was a member of the Legal Marijuana Now Party until he died unexpectedly in September. The party, which received 5.3 percent of the vote in a 2018 state audit race, nominated Paula Overby to represent the 2nd district on Tuesday.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.